The Green Bay Packers final preseason game is only exciting because it means that opening day is just around the corner.
With most of the roster spots set, there is very little drama tonight in terms of position battles.
There are a couple things to keep an eye on, though.
First, how will Monty’s favorite defensive back, Jarrett Bush perform and who will emerge as the team’s number three running back?
Bush has followed up his disappointing 2007 with a less-than-stellar training camp. The Packers have been practicing with him at safety, which many scouts point to as his natural position. If he falls on his face tonight, I predict he’ll be gone by Tuesday. However, having invested a lot of development time in Bush and his athleticism, the Packers will be reluctant to let him go if he flashes any potential at safety tonight.
If that happens, it will probably be at the expense of Tyrone Culver, who is a solid backup and special-teamer, but is expendable. Culver has a long history of injury and may have plateaued at this point. Sorry, but Bush may be sticking around.
The running back situation is a tricky one, especially because I predict that Ryan Grant will seriously injure his hamstring early in the season. He already tweaked it and having sat out the entire summer during his contract dispute, I do not believe that he’ll be in the right kind of shape to carry the entire load. I don’t want it to happen, but it almost always does after a holdout.
That will put pressure on Brandon Jackson, who has shown improvement, and whoever backs him up. After chopping DeShawyn Wynn, the Packers are left with Vernand Morency and Noah Herron. Morency may have the best straight-line speed of any of the backs and is a solid blocker. Herron is a smart running back who doesn’t miss blocking assignments and may be the best receiver out of the backfield on the Packers. He lacks game-changing speed and really can’t be an every down kind of guy. Are his skills and folk hero status enough to keep him around? Maybe as a fullback? Lastly, the Packers have Kregg Lumpkin, who has gained a lot of ground during the preseason. He has size, speed, blocking and receiving skills. The only downside is that he is raw, runs upright and is still learning blocking assignments.
At this point, I’d put my money on Lumpkin to make the team. Morency and Herron have been around for a few years now and if they haven’t broken through by now, they probably won’t in the future.
How each performs tonight may make a difference.